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Crashed plane removed from Sandwood Bay

The crashed microlite at Sandwood Bay

The crashed microlite at Sandwood Bay

A microlight plane that crash landed on Sandwood Bay last weekend has been dismantled and carried out of the remote area by 14 men. The pilot was uninjured and the plane is now safely stored in crofter Cathel Macleod’s shed four miles from the beach. Sandwood Bay in Sutherland – which is owned and protected by the John Muir Trust – is the most remote beach in mainland Britain.

The sky blue microlight crash landed on Sunday 21 June when the pilot Mr Keith Brown decided that he would touch his wheels on the bay’s golden sands on a flight around the headland. The stunt came a cropper when his wheels instantly bogged in the soft sand. Luckily the plane was going dead slow into the wind when it hit the ground and Mr Brown walked away unscathed.

This left Mr Brown with the problem of how to get the plane safely off the beach. Sandwood Bay is not accessible by road and taking off-road vehicles down the four mile track from the car park is frowned upon by the John Muir Trust. “The sand dunes around Sandwood are very fragile and this is a very sensitive time for breeding birds such as Skylarks and Meadow Pipits,” explained Conservation Manager for the Sandwood estate Cathel Morrison.

So Mr Brown, described by Cathel Morrison as ‘a real gentleman,’ came up with a labour intensive solution. He dismantled the plane by hand and together with 13 other able-bodied men carried the fuselage, engines and wings back to the car park. The microlight plane will now be transported back to Bedfordshire where it is based to be re-assembled. Asked by Cathel if he had insurance cover Mr Brown replied: ‘Yes, but it doesn’t cover crash landing on a beach.’

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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.